Effective Summer Break. Summer School Experience and Advices
For most of us, summer break means to have a rest and to do whatever you like. However, when you are already in the university, you are trying your best to gain as much as you can, especially when you already know what you would like to do in future or what is interesting for you.
Have you ever heard about summer school programs? I guess not everyone. Top universities have special programs, which they hold during summertime. In other words, it is a great opportunity to take a course you like and to study it during your summer break. Normally, such courses are intensive – 2 or 3 weeks. That what I decided to do when I had passed all my London exams.
Initially, I did not know that there was such an opportunity. In February our faculty (HSE and University of London Parallel Degree Programme in International Relations) told us that that there was a chance to receive a scholarship to study at summer schools in the UK, and to get there one needed to write a competitive essay and, obviously enough, the best owners of the works will receive these trips. Unfortunately, I missed this opportunity, but still, I decided to try later.
It is essential to say, that London School of Economics offers numerous interesting and fascinating summer school programs – from economics to international relations spheres. For sure, you can choose any program you would like to study or interested in, but also it is important to keep in mind that at the end of the course you have to pass an exam. To put it in another way, I strongly recommend you to take into the consideration the fact, that there are, of course, some very difficult courses, which will not allow you to have a lot of free time. Still, it is the time-management during your studies, which helps you to have enough spare time for exploring the city and for studies.
To continue the same train of thought, the most exciting thing about summer school opportunity is meeting new people, who are from different countries with diverse backgrounds (this is the most important thing about meeting new people); this allows you to have new friends, to explore London together or just have fun! When all the process with visa and tickets are completed, I strongly recommend you to make sure that you know where to stay during your studies, and, of course, to make a small search with the help of google maps, what places are located nearby your dormitory/flat. This will help you to make the right choice and not to get lost when you arrive.
Having just said about the most important steps, that you have to make before your trip, I would explain a little bit about the education process during the summer school. After your arrival, you will have a short tour of the university, where you’ll be shown various buildings, such necessary commodities as buildings of faculties and schools, cafes and a huge modern library with a lot of different thematic sections filled with hundreds of books, academic journals, and other collections.
The huge library, in my opinion, was the most impressive things ever! From the first sight, it became one of my favorite places to spend time, because I wanted to absorb all the knowledge that was evenly and measuredly placed on endless shelves, as long as there was such an opportunity and access. Even though I did not have enough time to read all the books I was interested in, I made some photos of them to read them in the near future.
Each day was divided into two parts: the first half of the day were classes which lasted from 10:00 to 13:00, then there was an hour and a half or even more for the lunch break, and then the second half of the day followed – seminars where we discussed interesting cases in media, or even reading some articles, or having debates with each other. To be more precise, each day during my stay in the LSE was uniquely rich and useful: in total, for both its parts we managed to go through 12 topics, analyzing all the nuances in detail and completing case studies.
After seminars we had free time and most often we spent it walking around the City and enjoying the scenery of London. Sometimes we spent our evenings studying till late night in the library, but still, it was worth it!
What is more important, is the fact that during all seminars and lectures every student tried to share his or her experience in different topics, often bringing something new. It was always interesting to listen to everyone’s point of view and, thus, get to know their personal experience more closely, to draw some useful conclusions for myself.
But I would like to note the attitude of the teachers! Indeed, I had three different lecturers and two different seminars teachers. All of them were true fans of their field, knowledgeable and experienced people. They were ready to share with us what they knew with pleasure and tried to do everything possible so that everyone could understand the material, speak out, and be heard. This kind of attitude has become an essential component of motivation, inexhaustible interest in learning and the desire to learn more in this area. In many ways, it was the attitude of the teachers and, in turn, the presentation of the material itself that helped not only to study all the topics in effectively and interestingly manner, but also to go beyond the boundaries.
After almost every lesson, I wanted to discuss something and to know more details in order to understand the topic better, ask questions to the teacher, which was only the pleasure to hear something new. It is worth mentioning, that we had many works, which were not only graded, namely, anonymously (which is very unusual for Russian way of studying process), but all of the works were commented by 3 people (a lecturer and 2 class teachers), which allowed not to be biased towards students.
My experience of Summer school program at LSE I would call a unique opportunity, not only for students, but also for people, who have already finished their Bachelor’s or Master’s degrees. Since the program in LSE summer school was my first experience, I was trying my best to take every advantage of it. Those fascinating and inspiring three weeks of intensive studying with my friends, have opened new opportunities for me and gave me an unforgettable experience. I would definitely recommend you trying any summer school program you like, and to make the most out of it.
Ultimately, my goal was not only to share my personal experience but also to get to know more people with this opportunity and to inspire them. I am very glad that I made a try and did not miss this unique chance, which was useful for my future career and life in general!